Google's Nimoy Syndrome
Bill Tancer from Hitwise US breaks down Google's traffic by service. First time I've seen something like this, and it shows just how incredibly dominant search is to the rest of their products and services.
Four years after launch, and Google News is hardly making waves. Froogle, the shopping service, is barely in business. Google Local gets a pathetic 0.05% of their market share. There are many other examples.
Such fine products with no real traction.
The sparse nature of thir homepage is only partly to blame for this. The Google Personalized Homepage may help this as it allows many services to be surfaced. Google never wanted to be a portal, and their traffic shows that despite the launch of many new products and services (everything from Finance to a Calendar) they are succeeding in not becoming one.
Another factor is the "Nimoy Syndrome."
Google is so well known for doing one thing that when they try to branch out and play other roles, people continue to see them as the old character. Sure, when Google does something like GMail or Maps, people understand why - much the same way I understood why Nimoy would do In Search Of. However, it was really hard not to see Nimoy as Spock when he played Paris in Mission Impossible.
The same can be said of Google: If it doesn't involve search, then why should consumers choose Google? In this respect, Yahoo! has the edge. Yahoo! is a portal. That's what it is by nature, and that's what consumers expect.
Leveraging the custom category capability of Hitwise, I've created a category of the top 20 Google domains in order to understand the popularity of Google's varied services. The table below details the percentage market share that each property accounts for in relation to all visits to the top 20 Google Domains.
Technorati Tags: google, research, yahoo, portal
Friday, May 19, 2006
If it doesn't involve search, then why should consumers choose Google?
I'm afraid I cannot completely agree with that statement. Search is Google's stronghold. The "bigger" picture, is to organize the world's information, make them accessible and useful.
Privacy issues aside, by providing Gmail, they are organizing (and harvesting) information.
Granted, all their new products do not always take off, nor do they strengthen the Google brand -- but just because Google is good at search, doesn't mean they can't diversify their product line.
The stats do show, however, that as of today - they only product they have that is successful, is search.
It's up to them to put out their next successful product.
# posted by Jay Liew : 11:08 PM, May 19, 2006
How about "Crowded Middle Ranks" Syndrome?
Google is learning that it is hard to be a Thomas Edison. It is extremely rare for any technology company to ever have more than one "hit record" per 5-10 years.
Google has purchased some super-cool hit-record products like Google Earth and Picasa which were clearly great choices.
But now Google's middle ranks are swelled with recently hired people who need to prove they can create something. But because it is hard to "create" something original, what they are doing is:
- "incremental innovation" in the best of cases (e.g., gmail, which is very nice), or
- reinventing the wheel in the worst of cases (e.g., Google Finance), though it has been claimed by some ex-Yahooers that Google borrowed a few "spokes" from Yahoo's designs to "create" Google Finance.
Google should continue to acquire "hit record" products as quickly as it can, because it won't be long before Microsoft in particular realizes that they need to mount a blocking action and start scooping small innovators before Google gets to them.
And Google should be as merciless about shutting down in-house endeavors as they have apparently recently been in kicking previously honored guests like Trillian out of Google Pack.
It would appear that if Google were truly "gender neutral" (i.e., in-house vs. partner products) in its kicking out behavior, then a number of Google's own "innovations" would have already gotten the boot.
Unfortunately, they are all still hanging around in Google's living room -- like their few children who were not bright enough to go off to college -- meaning that past flops and more recent ho-hums are beginning to clutter the house of Google. How long before people get tired of spending their time in that room which gives equal billing to Google's grown roster of less gifted offspring, lounging on Google's home page munching nachos and watching TV re-runs?
# posted by : 8:30 AM, May 20, 2006